OSU-PSU grades: Barrett excels under center for Buckeyes
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Buckeyes’ 38-10 victory over the Nittany Lions:
Ohio State Buckeyes
— The Buckeyes’ quarterback shuffle still raises questions, but last night J.T. Barrett (+3.0) certainly seemed to be the ascendant quarterback who could push Cardale Jones (-2.3) to the bench. While Jones struggled again particularly with some concerning accuracy as a passer, Barrett brought his fine form from the redzone to the rest of the field as he helped Ohio State pull away in the second half.
— Both teams entered this game with players to shout about on the defensive line and the Buckeyes’ pairing of Joey Bosa (+7.5) and Adolphus Washington (+5.6) certainly lived up to the hype last night. The end and tackle pairing split nine stops (six for Bosa, three for Washington) and eight pressures (four each) with Washington bouncing back from a poor game against Maryland last week while Bosa earned his 18th-straight positively graded game.
— The Buckeyes;’ constant and consistent foundation on offense is still Ezekiel Elliott (+5.7). Yet again last night Elliott capitalized on some ferocious run blocking from the likes of Taylor Decker (+3.9) building on what he was given by breaking 11 tackles and gaining just shy of 100 yards after contact. After seven games Elliott is only 13 missed tackles shy of his total of 41 forced in the entire 2014 season.
DE Joey Bosa (+7.5)
HB Ezekiel Elliott (+5.7)
DT Adolphus Washington (+5.6)
LT Taylor Decker (+4.9)
QB J.T. Barrett (+3.0)
Penn State Nittany Lions
— While the quarterbacks were in the spotlight ahead of the game it was the running backs that stole the show last night with Penn State freshman Saquon Barkley (+3.7) more than holding his own against Ezekiel Elliott on the other sideline. Barkley broke 10 tackles on the night and gained 126 of his 194 yards after contact; this marked the second time this season that Barkley has broken 10 tackles and racked up 100 or more yards after contact.
— This was another rough and tough outing for Christian Hackenberg (-2.5) who is still falling short of his billing as a potential top draft pick. Before the beating of five sacks took its toll, we saw the contrast in Hackenberg’s play that is going to be such a talking point over the coming months. In the space of three plays he sailed a simple screen pass a yard over DaeSean Hamilton (-0.4) before negotiating a muddy pocket two players later to find Mike Gesicki (-2.6) on a corner route — his best throw of the night, which his tight end dropped.
— The Nittany Lions entered this game with a defensive line that was playing some terrific football but this game proved to be a mixed night for this talent group. On the positive side of things, Austin Johnson (+2.8; three stops) and Carl Nassib (+2.6; seven stops, two sacks) continued their impressive seasons with Nassib earning his sixth grade of +2.5 or better in seven games. Unfortunately things didn’t go so well for Anthony Zettel (-5.5) who failed to make much of an impact as a pass rush and was bullied by the Ohio State offensive line, earning by far his lowest grade of the last two seasons.
HB Saquon Barkley (+3.7)
DT Austin Johnson (+2.8)
DE Carl Nassib (+2.6)
WR Chris Godwin (+0.6)
S Jordan Lucas (+0.2)